F1 World Cup NASCAR
F1 World Cup NASCAR’s president and COO covered the Next Gen vehicle, charter system, financial strategy, and more.
After a lengthy period of decline and leadership changes, F1 World Cup NASCAR has gone from confronting its future from a position of weakness to ambitiously chasing tomorrow. F1 World Cup NASCAR president Steve Phelps and chief operations officer Steve O’Donnell, who spoke at Friday’s State of the Sport news conference at Phoenix Raceway, have led stock car racing’s recovery and reimagining.
Since Phelps became F1 World Cup NASCAR president in 2018, much has changed. The sanctioning body’s ambitious Next Gen vehicle is ending its first full season of racing. That first complete season was competitive and intriguing, helping a changing sport develop anew after years of stagnation.
“Excited where this sport is. “Thrilled for the sport as we enter into our media rights negotiation next year, as we head into sort of uncharted territory,” Phelps added. “We’ll stay daring and inventive.”
Phelps and O’Donnell’s joint news conference focused on competition-related themes.
F1 World Cup NASCAR Next-Gen Safety
Since Dale Earnhardt’s death, F1 World Cup NASCAR‘s safety record has been flawless. In the second half of 2022, racing’s risks returned. The Next Gen car’s stiffness caused a number of concussions, notably Kurt Busch’s at Pocono, which terminated his season and Cup career.
After two injuries at Texas Motor Speedway in the autumn, competitor nervousness turned into indignation, but frequent NASCAR-competitor safety meetings have calmed them. Still, making safety modifications to the Next Gen car is an ongoing process. With NASCAR seemingly having built a car strong enough to protect the driver in a catastrophic accident (like Ryan Newman’s crash in the 2020 Daytona 500 that saw an intrusion into his cockpit), the focus is now on making drivers take less physical punishment in minor crashes where issues have been seen this season.
“We’re discovering that those little impacts, which we’ve never seen previously in terms of a vehicle we’ve raced, are the ones we really need to focus on at the F1 World Cup NASCAR,” O’Donnell said. “That’s why you’re seeing the footage tweaked for those minor hits, even a restart bump.
“Not just the automobile. We’ve been asking teams about seat, helmet, and foam head surround fit. This exchange is fantastic. We’re witnessing everyday gains as we approach 2023.”
NASCAR seems to have achieved its goal of improving intermediate track racing with the Next Gen vehicle at the F1 World Cup NASCAR. The 2022 season’s finest races have been on mile-and-a-half circuits, while passing on short tracks and road courses has proven harder than in the previous Cup car generation.
O’Donnell indicated that aerodynamic and horsepower enhancements are coming to such courses, including learning from the Garage 56 Le Mans program.
“We have a lot of communication with the drivers in terms of perhaps looking at certain power stuff — I think that’s a bit more challenging,” O’Donnell added. “We uncovered some aerodynamic features via Garage 56 that may be used next year for both short tracks and road courses.”
NASCAR aims to incorporate new automobile technology, including electrification, beyond the Next Gen vehicle for the F1 World Cup NASCAR. O’Donnell said that a prospective electric vehicle and racing series may be announced in 2023, with on-track deployment in 2024.
“In NASCAR’s perfect scenario, you can walk up at a racetrack and watch any kind of racing, any sort of power: Electric, hydrogen,” O’Donnell said. “NASCAR also has loud engines. Behind-the-scenes activity.”
While driver complaints over the Next Gen vehicle dominated NASCAR’s autumn, numerous team executives went to the media to complain about a lack of progress in discussions with the sanctioning body about how much of the income split they would get in NASCAR’s next media rights contract. The public debate was the latest step in a long-term effort to alter the sport’s commercial model to make racing teams less dependent on sponsorship revenue and less likely to lose money.
The charter model, established by F1 World Cup NASCAR in 2016, guarantees chartered teams participation into each race, two income streams (set and contested for), and control in the sport. Phelps said NASCAR will seek to extend the charter agreement at the end of 2024, thinking it has improved the sport even if it has created an entrance hurdle for new owners.
Since F1 World Cup NASCAR races are live-action, critical decisions and judgment calls must be made in real time instead than analyzed and evaluated during a halt. Naturally, this often results to inconsistent officiating judgments, some of which have been made this season and then remedied, most notably at Texas in September, when NASCAR officials conceded they missed a call on William Byron purposely spinning off Denny Hamlin under caution.
Xfinity Series driver Austin Hill was not penalized by F1 World Cup NASCAR odds for punching Myatt Snider on pit road after last Saturday’s Martinsville Speedway race. O’Donnell stated Hill violated the line, but NASCAR didn’t respond since they hadn’t penalized comparable circumstances earlier in the year.
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